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Home » September 2005 Game CommentsSeptember 2005 » Duel


Game 148: September 17, 2005
Athletics (81-67), 1
Red Sox (87-61), 2
L: Danny Haren (13-11)
W: Bronson Arroyo (13-9)
H: Jonathan Papelbon (2)
S: Mike Timlin (9)

1.5 games ahead in the division

2 game winning streak

Since the Red Sox won the World Series, my “Things I Want to See Live at a Baseball Game Before I Die” list has become completely optional. If I were to want more icing on my cake I would like to see:

  1. Perfect game
  2. No-hitter
  3. Unassisted triple play (This has only happened 12 times in major league history. Most recently for the Red Sox John Valentin did this against the Mariners on July 8, 1994. George Burns also had a triple play on September 14, 1923; sadly there is no box score available for this game. Burns was one of two first baseman to accomplish this feat.)
  4. 9 pitches, 9 strikes, side retired (This has only happened 39 times for 36 pitchers. Pedro Martinez did it against the Mariners on May 18, 2002. This is made even more astounding because Ichiro Suzuki went down in three pitches!)
  5. Batter hitting for the natural cycle
  6. Triple play
  7. Batter hitting for the cycle
  8. Hidden ball trick

I mention this because Arroyo flirted with a perfect game through 4 innings. He began the 5th by walking former Red Sox players Scott Hatteberg and Jay Payton, who were erased by a double play. A no-hitter was a remote possibility, but Arroyo lost a bit of his control this inning. Immediately following the double play he walked Nick Swisher. Fortunately, the fashionably slim righty didn’t give up any more bases on balls for the rest of the outing, going 7 innings with 3 hits, 1 earned run, and 2 strikeouts.

Haren was similarly effective with his 7 inning, 6 hit, 2 earned run, 1 walk, and 8 strikeout line, but his team’s anemic offense was unable to get on base for him. “A” is not for “Athletics” as we thought, but for “atrophied.”

In the 6th inning, a car going eastbound on the Mass Pike violently veered to avoid a hurtling object. “What the hell was that!” yelled the swerving driver.

“I do believe that is a first pitch, go-ahead home run off the bat of Manny Ramirez,” replied the passenger.

“Oh,” said the driver. “You think we can turn around and pick it up?”

“Nah, those guys in the other lane caught it on the fly.”

Alex Cora’s defensive play in the 7th to put out Dan Johnson was incredible. From our perspective in the bleachers right behind the visitor’s bullpen, we could see the ball heading through the gap towards us. We figured Trot Nixon would have to run up to field a ground ball single. Incredibly, the Red Sox second baseman ranged to his left while running into shallow right field to intercept the ball. Cora saw it was about to get by him but made a desperate but successful last second surge to nab it.

One of the team’s stated objectives in Spring Training was to improve on last season’s 16-18 record in one-run games. The Red Sox believed this could be accomplished by reducing the number of opponents’ steals. This is not a huge concern when playing against the A’s and Arroyo pitching, but the Red Sox have improved from 123 for the entire 2004 season compared to 81 steals this season so far. This year Boston’s record in one-run games is now 25-14. One of my offseason projects looks like it will be analyzing the difference between these past two seasons’ one-run games characteristics.

Besides the win, this game was made more enjoyable since it was the second Royal Rooters outing of the season. It’s fun to hang out with people that all speak the Red Sox dialect. No interpreters are required. The first one back in June was also a win against a California team. We are now 2-0. Beat that, Remy cult adherents and SoSHers. (Actually, I don’t know what the other groups’ records are. But did they win games when it mattered?) The creative forces behind 12eight, Reb Sox, Miles from Fenway, NU50 (home of mojo), and The Mind of BlackJack were also at the game. I had to stifle a Stewart O’Nan comment when I first laid eyes upon Andrew because he brought a glove to the game. A glove. Given the seats he had, however, it was a good call. (Yes, that was said in a nasally, cigarette-tinged Jerry Remy tone of voice.)

A shout-out to the Root crew: BlackJack, SoxFaninNYC, mish1231, Dewy4PrezII, DeweyRice, Tessie, OuttaThePahk, Mike LansWho, Seabass, MargoAdamsLoveChild, AnalogKid, Sox Sweep Again, NJSoxFan, gerky, beatlesfab4fan, The Ghost of Ned Martin, Timlinin8th (need to change your name), NU five oh... hope I didn’t miss anyone.


You may have been tempted to laugh, but the people sitting in my section were sure as hell glad I had it after Nixon ripped a line drive a few rows down that nearly killed multiple people.

I note your comment says nothing explicitly about catching said ball, or are you implying that you did? In which case, good job!

nitpick alert

Um...in 2003, Rafael Furcal had an unassisted triple play w/ the Braves. It was off the bat of Woody Williams.

Sure, I was just listing the two Red Sox unassisted triple plays.

Oh, lord no. Of course, it was far enough away that - had I made the catch - Michael Kay would be treating me as a messiah instead of Jeter. Despite being in prime foul ball territory, nothing really came close enough to make an attempt on.

Oh....sorry bout that Empy...didn't realize you were only looking at Red Sox-wise *note: I can't read*

No problem, PTH. Eye kant reed ether. Now save up some scratch so you can buy a car and drive up and join us next outing.

Sorry you didn't catch a ball, Andrew. The burning question remains: did you get Reb to take stalkerish pictures of Kelly Barons?

Hey Empy! Thanks for the shout out! As always (well, all two times anyway) it was great to see you. I was actually out on Yawkee Way for Cora's play in the 7th and it looked pretty damn good on TV too.

My Fenway Frank tasted pretty good, but it would have been better if I could have eaten it while watching Manny knock one on to Landsdowne. Oh why oh why didn't I go one half inning earlier? I get out of my seat once all game, and that's what I miss. But all those wave loving jerks behind us get to see it just fine. Where is the justice!?!

...not that I'm bitter. And that Cora play was pretty sweet.

NU50 brings up the Hot Dog of Guilt. I choose to believe that had we had hot dogs when Manny hit that dinger that we would have both been so happy that we would have choked on them and required emergency intervention. And the only person that knew the Heimlich maneuver would have been the guy that Tessie mistook for GoNM, and he would have been like, "Die, losers!" And we'd both be dead right now.

So, that was all for the best. Thanks for the getting the hot dog when you did. You saved two lives.

Empy raises a valid point, lives should be cherished even more than Sox home runs (but not much more). You might even say I'm an American hero.

Lead singer:
Real American hero
Mr. Hot dog getting man in the 6th inning with the home team batting

Back up singers:
What a chivalrous gentleman

Yes, that's you. Walking through the crowd with your three hot dogs oblivious to the state of the game.

Lead singer:
Oh, those go ahead, massive dingers

But that's all right, you'll be forever immortalized in the comments of a blog.

Background singers:
Here's your fifteen minutes of fame

Lead singer:
Mr. Hot dog getting man in the 6th inning with the home team batting


You said massive dinger.

Yes, I'm 12. :)

I was hoping someone would get that, because I sure ain't.

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